Most liberals and conservatives tend to get along quite well. We engage in open dialogue at the dinner table and maybe get into a few heated arguments every now and then, but at the end of the day, we can all push our opinions aside and walk home as friends.
A Leftist, or a Right-Winger, however, would not be capable of doing any of the things I just described.
Liberalism and Conservatism are the two great schools of thought when it comes to politics. Those who identify more as a Democrat tend to be more “liberal”, while those who identify as a Republican are more “conservative.” Both liberals and conservatives have different ideas as to how the government, economy, and country should be run.
Not only can Liberalism and Conservatism be ways of thinking for politics, but also a way of life. Liberals tend to live their lives caring about others and social issues, and believing that the issues of the world can be solved by uniting together and negotiating. Conservatives, although still caring about others, put more of an emphasis on themselves. Conservatives believe that the world’s problems can be solved through strength and knowledge. As the famous quote says, conservatives tend to “speak softly, and carry a big stick.”
Leftism and Rightism are the two most extreme sides of the political spectrum. Unlike a Liberal, who is someone on the moderate left of the political spectrum, a Leftist is someone who stands on the extreme left. The same concept applies to a Rightist, or Right-Winger, who stands on the extreme right.
But what’s the difference between a Liberal and a Leftist? What’s the difference between a Conservative and a Right-Winger? Where does one draw the line in the sand to define where extremism starts?
There are three main differences between Liberals, Conservatives, Leftists, and Right-Wingers.
1. Liberals and Conservatives are interested in seeking knowledge and engaging in civil, educational, and rational dialogue.
Leftists and Right-Wingers have absolutely no interest in engaging in civil debate. For Leftists and Right-Wingers, it’s their way or the highway. They rely purely on emotion and believe that it is only their opinions that matter or have any pull. Both will shut down any opposing opinion or dissent, and in very extreme cases, will resort to using violence to suppress that very opinion.
2. The language used by Leftists and Right-Wingers is vitriolic and hateful.
If you’ve ever had the unfortunate privilege of talking to a Right-Winger or a Leftist, you will know that their version of “dialogue” is usually filled with insults and hateful remarks rather than facts. Leftists enjoy tossing the insult “Nazi” around like a beachball to moderate conservatives, and usually call somebody who doesn’t agree with them a “racist.” Right-Wingers are just as bad, if not worse. When met with a dissenting opinion, their remarks towards an opponent are usually filled with racial slurs and childlike name-calling. A favorite insult amongst Right-Wingers is “race traitor.”
3. Both create scapegoats and deny a specific group of people’s right to exist.
The chosen scapegoat of the extreme Right is minorities—that means Blacks, Jews, Latinos, homosexuals, or anyone with dark skin. In their eyes, minorities are not worthy of having an opinion, and should be purged (quite literally) from American society. In the case of the extreme Left, capitalists, Christians, and in some cases even Jews and Whites are enemies of the people. Both movements deny the right of a group of people to exist and believe that violence, vitriol, humiliation, or hatred is justifiable in order to reach a certain political goal.
This is my interpretation of what it means to be a Conservative or Liberal today, and what the extremes of Left and Right mean. We must understand that the principles that apply to both Liberalism and Conservatism today have not always been the same, and have changed with society over the course of history.
As Conservatives and Liberals, it is our duty to root out the bad apples on both of our sides. We need to be vigilant in calling out radicalism when we see it, no matter how hard it may be to accuse someone who shares similar beliefs as we do. And as Conservatives and Liberals, we must continue to work together and remind ourselves that extremism is always working behind the scenes—and of course, we should continue being close friends and sharing our opinions on the world together.
Elliot Avigael is the Editor-In-Chief of theDailyLead.